How Did Dental Caries Become So Prevalent?
An interesting overview of dental caries, titled "Epidemiology of Dental Disease" from the University of Illinois, explains how
According to the article, if we look back at dental health over the last several thousand years we find that:
"During the first 4,000 years there is a gradual increase in caries prevalence ranging from 2 to 10 carious teeth per 100 teeth, followed by a sharp rise at about the year 1000 A.D. to 24 carious teeth per 100 for 3 out of 4 populations. The year 1000 A.D. is the approximate date for the introduction of sugar cane to the Western world . . . Several studies have shown an increase in caries rate associated with the change from a hunter-gatherer diet with meat and low carbohydrate to a diet heavy with starch-rich cereal." (University of Illinois)
What this article helps show is that before sugar and modern foods were introduced into the diet, many people did not have cavities or tooth decay.
While the beginning of the paper from the University of Illinois attributes cavities and tooth decay to bacteria, the true explanation for why dental caries and tooth decay occurs is explained by the introduction of sugar and processed foods into the diet. The problem with the type of diet that most people consume is that it contains high levels of white flour, sugar, and processed foods. When the body is supplied with certain foods, such as ones that are overly sweet or lack nutrients, it results in a disruption of the internal body chemistry and alters blood sugar levels. If the body is not supplied with
If the body is supplied with
"Epidemiology of Dental Disease", University of Illinois, N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan 2012. http://www.uic.edu/classes/osci/osci590/11_1Epidemiology.htm.